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Diabetic Retinopathy

Diabetic Retinopathy

Diabetic retinopathy is a common issue many people with diabetes suffer from. This condition affects the cells at the back of the eyes (the retina) and can even lead to blindness if not treated. Most people don’t even know that they have diabetic retinopathy because symptoms are often not noticeable at first. It is therefore very important for people with diabetes to protect their vision and have their eyes checked regularly.

Causes

The retina needs a constant supply of blood to function properly. The blood reaches the retina through a network of tiny blood vessels. With diabetes, there is too much glucose in the blood which can damage the tiny blood vessels in the retina. This could lead to the blood vessels to become blocked, cutting of the blood supply to the retina. As a result, the eye attempts to grow new blood vessels but these don’t develop properly and can leak, causing a loss of vision.

Symptoms of diabetic retinopathy

In the first stage, symptoms are not very noticeable. Some people with diabetic retinopathy experience dark string or spots floating in their vision. Others have a blurry, fluctuating vision or see dark areas. These symptoms usually occur in an advanced stage of retinopathy and may eventually lead to blindness.

Treating

It is important for people with diabetic blindness to have their eyes checked on a regular basis. In this way a professional can examine the state of retinopathy and monitor any progress. Though the early stages of retinopathy don’t necessarily require treatment, any potential worsening of the condition may require treatment. This includes injections (into the eye) and laser treatment.

When diagnosed with diabetic blindness, it is important to maintain your glucose levels as well as ensuring a healthy diet. This will decrease the chances of obtaining kidney disease and problems with blood pressure and cholesterol.